The Soviet Union conducted more than 450 nuclear tests from 1949 to 1989.
More than 1.5 million people were impacted by the tests suffering horrific human consequences.
One of them is Karipbek Kuyukov, an artist born in 1968 in a small village of Egindybulak, located only 100 km from the site.
He was born without arms as a result of exposure to nuclear radiation, but his fate inspired him to travel throughout the world with a mission to achieve the world free of nuclear weapons.
My parents were living witnesses of nuclear tests. My mother often told us what she saw when she was little. She climed the hill and saw bright flashes. When we were kids, we lived in a small house. And house constantly shattered on the day of testing.
“My parents, who unfortunately passed away, witnessed everything what was happening at the test site. Today, however, I can proudly say that my little-known nation has achieved what has been too much for the great powers – we made the first real step towards universal nuclear disarmament [closure of the Semipalatinsk test site],” said Kuyukov
Kuyukov in New York
Kuyukov during an anti-Nuclear Bike Rally
Bike Ride Event in New York
“We have made a great journey from Washington, D.C. to New York City, engaging with many people along the way. I hope the message we are trying to convey to world leaders is being heard: we demand a world without nuclear weapons. I hope to be the last born with the after-effects of nuclear testing,” added Kuyukov.
Besides Kuyukov, there are many more victims who suffered the horrible consequnces of nuclear testing.
The closure of Semipalatinsk test site has been a milestone in the history of Kazakhstan. This year, Kazakhstan marks 30 years since this historic decision.
people protesting against nuclear testing
Olzhas suleimenov and nursultan nazarbayev
Mother and her mission
“I have seen many children born with deformations. My own parents had two children before me who did not live to be one year old. I want to ask you, dear delegates, how can you allow for these weapons to exist?” said Kuyukov